Darker Days

Darker Days tagline:
Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

“Wildly varied and always surprising, Darker Days is a fantastic collection of dark wonders. Cain is a gifted storyteller and a writer to watch.”  Jonathan Janz

“His prose is precise, his plotting and pace move seamlessly and quickly, and his stories are compelling.” — Gene O’Neill, The White Plague Chronicles

“A feast for the senses no matter your tastes!” — Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls

Ranging from subtle horror to downright terror, from science fiction to weird fantasy, Cain demonstrates a breadth of styles that keeps you off balance as you move from one story to the next.” — JG Faherty, author of The Cure, Carnival of Fear, and The Burning Time

From reviews:
“Cain pulls it off with style.  His influences are apparent on every page.  When the mundane is combined with the supernatural, magic can happen, and Cain is a sorcerer.” — Signal Horizon

“Kenneth Cain has the ability to bring up hard topics without driving them into the ground or beating you over the head with them.” — SciFi & Scary

a great collection of tales that any fan of horror fiction would enjoy. There’s something in this book for everyone.” — HorrorAddicts.net

Kenneth W. Cain is an exceptional writer. His stories never fail to provide the chills and thrills you want from a horror anthology. Highly recommended.” — Goodreads review


Tales From The Lake Volume 5

Tales From The Lake Volume 5 tagline:
Where are the real horrors? Whether they be a family member returning from the dead, exploring the depths of depression or the deterioration of the mind, you’ll find them here.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Edited by Kenneth W. Cain

“If you’re a short story reader, this is an absolute must-read. Volume five is even better than the four preceding volumes, which is a very hard bar to hit. Go buy this!” — John R. Little, author of The Memory Tree, Miranda, and Soul Mates

From reviews:
“…not a “look under the bed for monsters” volume, but one that has a pensive chill. The stories are like a tap on the shoulder; a reminder that good days end and that no one is protected from anguish.” – Hellnotes

“…an absolute triumph, a wonderfully inclusive celebration of the best that the Horror genre can produce, unhindered by the constraints of themes or specific topics. The individual stories within the collection are uniformly of a very high quality, and have been expertly brought together and edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Crystal Lake Publishing.” – Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

“…edited by Kenneth Cain, one of the as yet unsung heroes of dark horror fiction–an author in his own right who deserves much more attention and spotlighting.” – The Haunted Reading Room

“…by far the best volume yet in the Tales from the Lake series!” – Amazon review

“Though the stories in Tales from the Lake Volume 5 are not themed in the traditional sense, they form a cohesive unit. Threads connect each to the others as if the authors had conspired to give the anthology its unique flavor.” — HorrorAddicts.net

“The most terrifying thing in the world is not a vampire or zombie, it is mankind and what we are capable of doing to each other. This collection from editor Kenneth W. Cain will eat at you for a long time. Horrifying, haunting, and unforgettable!” – Goodreads review

“I’ve been a fan of the Tales From The Lake anthology since the first volume and it’s amazing to see how much it has evolved over the years. Volume 5 is quite possibly the best yet.” – Goodreads review

“Kenneth W. Cain did an excellent job of weaving the stories together and they flow from one to another leaving the reader on a journey of terror and entertainment.” – Goodreads review

“…this one has some seriously fantastic offerings.” – A.E. Siraki

“Over the years I’ve read enough anthologies, short story collections and fiction magazines to refine my expectations for what comprises a premium horror story. So when I declare that I thoroughly enjoyed two-thirds of the fiction in TALES FROM THE LAKE VOLUME 5 – – that says a lot about the high quality of the contents.” – Pop Culture Podium



Embers tagline:
Where are the real horrors? Whether they be a family member returning from the dead, exploring the depths of depression or the deterioration of the mind, you’ll find them here.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Edited by Kenneth W. Cain

“Not a squall, not a blizzard … It’s a pulp horror AVALANCHE!” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award® winner

From reviews:
“I think I can safely say that this collection is one of my all-time favourites.” — Confessions of a reviewer

“Cain’s characters are anything but black and white. They are as multi-faceted as any real person you know. They are presented with difficult decisions and even worse situations, and they do the best that they can. Monster and man both are tested relentlessly, Cain never taking the easy way out. Some of the stories are predominately scary, some are predominately sad. All of them will evoke a range of emotions while you read and long after you’ve finished.” — Charnel House Reviews

“Prepare for the stretching of your mind and the expansion of your imagination as Kenneth W. Cain boldly goes into unexplored territory, sometimes speculative, other times horrific, but always enlightening.” — Mallory Heart Reviews

“Some of these tales take on a poe-esque quality, while others a more Lovecraftian tone, and then we find those that bestow upon us the moral musings of Rod Serling. Yeah, these stories are good!” — Horror Novel Reviews

“If you enjoy your horror with a touch of Lovecraft, I believe you’ll appreciate this body of work from Kenneth W. Cain more than you would otherwise.” — Cemetery Dance (Frank Michaels Errington)

“The market is flooded with short story collections and I sincerely hope that Cain’s Embers finds an audience as he has a strong voice and an obvious writing ability. A really good collection overall” — The Grim Reader

“Each story is connected by a little thread to the next one. Kenneth created a web of weird, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological and always scary threads.” — Banshee Irish Horror Blog

Embers is a collection that strolls into every corner of horror to gather bits before running them through the spin cycle, dial set to dread.” — Unnerving Magazine

“…from page 1 I enjoyed reading each and every word.” — Terror-Tree

“Books like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark were always a fun read as a child right before bed. Cain’s Embers is like an adult version of those novels.” — The Horrific Network

“What makes his work scary is that he takes normal everyday situations with characters just like you and me and twists them into something horrific. These are tales that really could happen to anyone.” — S.J. Budd

“Overall, Embers is a well-constructed and put together collection of horror stories from Kenneth W. Cain that marks another quality release from Crystal Lake Publishing.” — A.E. Siraki

“I thought it was a great collection.” — Sci-Fi and Scary


LIKE my book on the Bookmaester Top 100


Lifeblood tagline:
Like a mashup between Underworld and Twilight.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press


Jade tagline:
Like a mashup between Blade and Resident Evil.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press

Fresh Cut Tales

Fresh Cut Tales tagline:
Fans of classic TV series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, or any similar dark fiction or paranormal series will enjoy this collection of psychological speculative fiction where not everything is always what it seems.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press

“Solid combination from a writer to watch.” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award winning author of New Moon on the Water

“Enthralling, eclectic collection of unputdownable speculative fiction.” — Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Black & Orange and Bottled Abyss

“Expect the unexpected in this macabre and thoroughly entertaining collection.” — Mike Davis, The Lovecraft Ezine

“Twisted tales that are guaranteed to keep you up at night.” — Michael McCarty, author of I Kissed a Ghoul

From reviews:
“I truly enjoyed this wonderful collection of dark fantasy/horror stories.  Each have their own unique storyline and the outcome is always surprising, and some will make you think.  I will be on the hunt for more from this author.” — The Holleman Household

“The author has a vivid imagination and some of his plots are quite good…” — Don D’Ammassa

“A solid collection for horror aficionados with plenty of variety.” — Trent Walters 

Pack Animals

Pack Animals tagline:
Like a mashup between Blade, The Walking Dead, and Resident Evil.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press

Post Mortem Press

Out of Print

Post Mortem Press (Original release)

Out of Print

“Think Patrick Henry goes to Zombieland” — Joe McKinney, author of Mutated and Inheritance

These Old Tales

These Old Tales tagline:
Fans of classic TV series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, or any similar dark fiction or paranormal series will enjoy this collection of psychological speculative fiction where not everything is always what it seems.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press

2014 Nominee for Best Short Story Collection at eFestival of Words.

“It’s always fun to stumble across a writer you haven’t read that has the ‘write stuff.'” — Gene O’Neill, The Burden of Indigo and Operation Rhinoceros Hornbill

From reviews:
“..keeps you guessing right until the end in his anthology These Old Tales – A Collection of Dark Fiction. With each new story, I kept trying to guess the ending, and each time I was wrong.” — Charnel House Reviews

“Cain’s unique eye for the macabre makes this collection more than worth it!” — To The Bone Reviews

“Cain’s skill as a writer is his ability to take mundane things most of us would never notice and turn them into true terror.” — DarkMedia

“The author deftly inhabits the minds of his protagonists, turning each piece into a sharp characterization that resonates long after it’s (usually) morbid conclusion.” — Goodreads Review

Interview with Author/Poet Bruce Boston

Q: I’ve read and enjoyed the poetry on your website, and I see you have won many awards as a poet. Being so successful on that platform, what drives you to long fiction?

BB: Actually, I’ve been publishing fiction, some of it long, for as long as I have poetry. My first novel, Stained Glass Rain, is over 140,000 words. I’ve also published more than a hundred short stories. I’ve always written both fiction and poetry. You can find most of my best stories collected in Masque of Dreams (Wildside Press, 2001, 2009) along with some of my best poetry.

Q: My own poetry suffers, likely due to the constant want to make the piece into a story. What shortcomings and downfalls might one expect to encounter when tackling both poetry and prose?

BB: When you tackle poetry seriously, you are looking at every word choice and every line break. And how they resonate with one another. If your poem starts turning into a story, you can either turn it into a story…write a long narrative poem…or compress it to the point where it works as a short poem, making every word count. You choice depends to some extent on where you feel your talents lie. I’d say that if the ideas and words are flowing for you, go with it, go for the story. If you decide it doesn’t work as a story, it’s generally easier to cut and refine what you’ve already written while you were on a roll than it is to add to it. I’ve had poems that I’ve later expanded to fictions and fictions that I’ve extracted poems from. I’d say there aren’t any shortcomings or downfalls if you take an open approach.

Q. I find this interesting, because the first section of The Guardener’s Tale came off so poetic to me. Was this your intention, or do you think this is merely the voice you were given coming out through your work?

BB: The Guardener’s Tale evolved out of a poem that originally appeared in Amazing Stories in the 80s. You can find the poem reprinted online at Membra Disjecta. The opening section of the novel draws heavily on this poem. Poetic language can enhance fiction if it is used in the right way. Some writers, such as Lawrence Durrell and Nabokov, are good reads for me in part because their language often reads like poetry.

Q. The indiscretion of Tuesdays was brilliant for me. I love the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” concept that allows a society the ability to let loose once a week, as if nurturing the human need to be bad. So, why Tuesdays?

BB: Tuesday is three days from Saturday and three days from Friday, the days when one is most likely to go out with one’s mate. So Tuesday seemed the most logical day to go out alone seeking other liaisons.

Q. I find it interesting, the comparison to a gardener, and their garden–creating a thing of beauty. In your tale, it is no different, except there are a variety of levels to these Guardeners, that in part appears to have something to do with age/experience. Also, the play on the word, using “guard” almost had me picturing storm troopers from Star Wars, but in actuality they are far from such armored monsters. On all levels, they are creating a garden of beauty together. I also found the widespread use of imagery that revolved on flowers in the story. Can you provide some insight into your creation of the Guardener as a social status and job?

BB: If you recall, some of the Guardeners do act like storm troopers when they invade the slum and evict residents from their dwellings. The higher level Guardeners are both police and psychiatrists, or at least with the help of technology they take on the role of psychiatrists. The Future Perfect, the garden of beauty they envision, is only perfect in terms of a society functioning without disruptions of any kind. In other words, a world were everyone has the same values and all serve a productive function within the system. It’s a bit like an insect colony, with no room for individuality or attitudes and ideas that run counter to the norm. Also akin to the ideal state once envisioned by the former Soviet Union. Much of art and literature of the Soviet Union from the 30s through the 50s, known as Socialist Realism, portrayed striving for an ideal communist society. Of course any society has its canon of what is considered acceptable behavior, which includes the content for art and literature. The more totalitarian the state, the more narrowly such a canon is defined. The Guardeners in The Guardener’s Tale are both guardians of their particular canon, and like gardeners in that they are trying to shape the future of the state by weeding out undesirable elements and shaping others. To extend the simile to an extreme, something like bonsai gardening.

Q. As a writer, I often find myself divulging opinions of how I think the future will look. Our present society can at times appear so limiting, and yet with modern day technology it is actually mind-blowing just how limitless it is. In your tale though, we have a world where technology has surpassed freedoms, and the City State must take control in order to ensure a successful future. Tell us a little bit about this concept. Is this how you envision the future of society?

BB: In the world of The Guardener’s Tale, although computers are used by government and business, they are forbidden to individuals, considered a negative freedom. There is no Internet as we know it. Despite all its faults, the Internet strikes me as a force for individual freedom and a barrier to government control. It creates a worldwide community that not only transcends national borders but can quickly exert political and social pressure. It disseminates information that the powers that be, any ruling government, would rather not have freely available to its citizens. It can be disruptive to a smoothly functioning society. WikiLeaks is a prime example of this.

Q. And what of reprogramming humans, as you mention in The Guardener’s Tale? Was this just you being creative, or is this yet another glimpse into where you think things are heading?

BB: There always seems to be an attempt by authoritarian forces of one kind or another to reprogram human nature to fit some socially acceptable norm. This is endemic to social systems. The Catholic Church served this function for centuries in Europe. Today, our basic natures are all reprogrammed to some extent by the mass media we are exposed to. A more specific example: the clinics that try to reprogram homosexuals to be heterosexuals. As to where we are headed, I’m not sure. If a technology evolves that can successfully reprogram humans, it’s hard to believe that a government would not attempt to make use of it to stabilize its power and achieve its goals.

Q. On your website it says that you are credited with coining the word “cybertext.” How does something like that transpire? I mean, did it just catch on from one of your tales or the like?

BB: I published a collection of poetry in 1992 titled Cybertexts. The prefix “cyber” is defined as “relating to information technology, computers or the Internet.” Many of the poems collected in Cybertexts have to do with human interaction with computers of one kind or another. However, at the time I wrote these poems, the Cyberpunk movement was still flourishing in science fiction, so the book also contains poems that applied to this, i.e., poems that described or reflected the world of that movement. Jump ahead a few years to 1997. Norwegian Professor Espen J. Aarseth, odds are totally unaware of my poetry collection, published a book titled Cybertext—Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. In this study, Aarseth defined “cybertext” as referring to texts that require an involvement on the part of the reader. For example, a text that poses questions to the reader and then proceeds with further text in response to the answers given, and so forth. This is the sense in which the term “cybertext” is used most commonly today. I coined the word, was the first to use it. Aarseth defined it more specifically in its contemporary usage.

Q. What might we expect from you in the future? Another book? More poetry?

BB: My latest collection of poems, Surrealities, should be out any day from Dark Regions Press. This is not a horror or science fiction collection, but all surreal poems and poems about surrealism. It’s also a departure for me in that I illustrated this collection myself with original Rorschach inkblots. You can find the illustrations online HERE.

Beyond that, Gary Crawford and I are compiling a shared-world collection of dark poetry and prose, working title Notes from the Shadow City.


Well Bruce, I’d also like to thank you for stopping by and giving us a quick glimpse into The Guardener’s Tale. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good futuristic dystopian tale. You can find out more about Bruce on his WEBSITE.